Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Nothing to admire about militias that took over Malheur in Oregon
By SJ Otto
There is nothing positive about a group of right-wing militia men taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge facility, in Oregon. These groups have two main issues; one that they want the wild life refuge land turned over to them for their own private use and they are upset about two ranchers, accused of arson, who have been sent back to jail for another three years.
The issue of the Father and son ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, seems to be their only real issue. It is questionable that these two should spend more time in jail than they already have.
According to CNN the two said they started a fire in 2001 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and to protect their property from wildfires, CNN affiliate KTVZ-TV reported, but that the fire got out of hand. Prosecutors said they set fires to cover up poaching.
The Militia people already believe they are above the law. Rancher Cliven Bundy –was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights in Nevada in 2014. Bundy owned money for grazing rights. He refused to pay and he refused to take his cattle off the government land. The government backed down and did nothing. That may have encouraged the rebellion today. These people found they can intimidate the government with their arms.
These militia people already talk of the Federal Government as a kind of occupying force that they don’t believe in. That has been the cry of the far-right Tea Party, which has been coopted into the Republican Party. They only seem to believe in local and state government.
Many have also stated that guns are not just for hunting and self-defense.
They are also for “standing up to tyranny,” which seems to mean branches of the US government that they don’t approve of.[i]
Many of the militia are racist and oppose the religious rights of others. Ammon Bundy is a leader of the group and his father Clive Bundy made racist remarks indicating that black people would be better off as slaves picking cotton rather than being on welfare.
As seen on a CNN video he said;
"They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.
"And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
Another of these militia men, according to CNN, is Jon Ritzheimer, is an avowed anti-Islamist and former Marine who served in Iraq. In 2014 he organized a protest outside a Phoenix Islamic community center during which he wore a T-shirt that said, "F--- Islam." He said his goal was to provoke.
"I'm trying to achieve exposing Islam," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper at the time.
There is also the perception by many that these people are being coddled and treated with kid gloves while the Black Lives Matter movement has been penalized for far less than what's happening at the wildlife refuge. If these were Muslims or black, the law enforcement response would be different, others argued.
We have to wonder why these people think they deserve free land? If they do, what about the rest of us? Do we all deserve free land from the federal government? And what about the wild life there? Shouldn’t we demand that our wild life heritage be defended? The militias want to open logging in this area. That would destroy what is left of our country’s tallest and oldest trees. Without defending these trees, they may become extinct.
For the most part this is a right-wing insurrection. The federal government is afraid of them and they may even sympathize with these people. The federal government may end up just abandoning these lands and their commitment to wild life preservation. That is not what we want or deserve.